Couples leave Malaysia private hospital with each other's baby in mix-up

JITRA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Two couples unwittingly walked away with each other's baby girl after a mix-up at a private hospital.

One of the couples realised the mistake when they checked the leg tag of the infant while on their way home to Yan, about 60km away, after leaving Hospital Pusat Rawatan Mahsuri in Bandar Darulaman on Wednesday afternoon.

The tag had the name of a different mother.

The couple quickly called the hospital and rushed back there.

A nurse then called to inform the other couple, who lived at the Politeknik Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah quarters nearby, of the error.

Religious teacher Nik Ahmad Sabri Mohamad Yusoff, 37, said he received the call at about 7.30pm on Wednesday - more than three hours after he and his wife left the hospital with the baby.

He and his wife, lecturer Mahani Zakaria, 36, who was breastfeeding the baby then, immediately checked the tag on the infant's leg.

"The name on it was not my wife's. We raced back to the hospital to seek an explanation for this terrible mistake," he said.

When they arrived, the couple from Yan were already at the hospital with a baby girl.

Both couples then requested for DNA tests to be done. While the Yan couple took home their child on the same day, Nik Ahmad and his wife insisted that she stay on at the hospital with their baby pending the results of the tests.

Hospital director Khairul Faizi Khalid said the results, which were released at 5.30pm yesterday, confirmed that the babies now with both couples were biologically theirs.

He said it was the first time the hospital had encountered such an incident since it began operations in 2011.

"An internal probe has been carried out and it is very unfortunate that the incident occurred," he said, adding that the hospital would waive the delivery charges for both babies and hospitalisation bill of the mothers.

Nik Ahmad, who had lodged a police report, said he spoke to the media not for personal interests but to ensure such incidents would not recur.

The baby is his fifth child with Mahani while the other infant is believed to be the first-born of the other couple, who were unavailable for comment.